How many times have you said to yourself, I wish I lived on a deserted island so I could get shit done? I need downtime so I can improve my life in some way or another. Or, I need space from all the invitations so that I can focus on myself and what I need? Well, quite possibly, the universe is offering us all that time to slow down and get done some of that vital shit we have been talking about. Maybe it’s time for a life change. I have gathered 50 easy ideas for how to handle the social distancing during Covid-19. How will you use your quarantine? Your answer could improve your life in multiple ways.
If I Had More Time, I Could Change My Life!
I don’t know about you, but I know for myself, time is the most precious commodity I have. And what I do with the time I have is super important to me.
Many little ideas have been percolating in my brain, somewhere in the back of my mind. Now, I finally have time to do some of them. This is one of the first times I can remember, in my lifetime, where social responsibility means staying put, socially isolating myself, and not being on the go, go, go.
There are no big social gatherings for me to attend, dinner parties have basically dried up, and people are all taking a break from togetherness. It’s a perfect time to do those activities I have wanted to accomplish.
I want people to be safe and take care of themselves. And while I love spending time with friends, I sometimes feel guilty about wanting to spend time with me. Corvid-19 has changed our relationship with the world, at least for a short time, and maybe for a longer time… Time will tell what the long-term impacts are. And, perhaps some of these changes will be good for us, inviting us to slow down a bit.
For a little while, at least, I have ample time on my own. And while I realize this may be more difficult for extraverts. We all have that introverted piece inside of us; maybe it’s time to leverage that strength to navigate this new landscape.
You may have murmured out loud or in your head, “If only I had more time to do [insert your thing here], then I could really accomplish something for myself.” Well, guess what folks, the time is now, put that social distancing to good use!
50 Ideas for Social Distancing that will improve your life.
Change your Narrative and Improve Your Life
Over this last week, anxiety has shown up in huge ways with lots of people. Whether you’re watching the news and find out that toilet paper is no longer available in America, or your fears around catching Covid-19 leave you concerned about being around other people, the tendency is to create a narrative of fear.
To be clear, the concern is real and valid, yet, what we do with our concerns makes a massive difference in how we weather this and all Black Swan events like Covid-19. And, yes, please continue to take time to wash your hands, limit your exposure, and stay healthy. And, if you choose to, you might decide to use the self-quarantine as an opportunity for self-care and dream development.
If your narrative runs towards, “This is terrible, awful, horrible,” maybe try a little shift, “This is terrible, awful, horrible, and what a bounty of time!” Check yourself and pay attention to your narrative. A change may be in order. And, this subtle shift will change your relationship to the situation.
What projects have you set to the side, that you now have time to accomplish? You know the ones, all those creative projects you couldn’t find the time for, that great novel you’ve been noodling over for years, or that online business idea you’ve been procrastinating. Quite possibly, it’s time to create a new habit for exercise, or any other good habits you haven’t had time to build in your head.
I am not saying, don’t honor your concerns or sadness about this pandemic. What I am saying is that we need to do that and add the forward direction to our self-talk. Sitting in the fear or sadness will hardwire that into your mind, fear is always more natural to hardwire. Honoring it means, notice, name, breathe through it, and shift attention. And yes, I am a whole life coach and therapist, and yes, I practice what I preach and work with people to navigate challenges, crisis, and change.
Social Distancing is a Life-Changing Opportunity Before You
Never in my lifetime can I remember a time in which the entire world went into shut down. Companies are sending people home to work virtually, Italy has broken out into balcony serenades, and we are all looking for ways to mitigate our alone time in creative new ways. Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation.
We also live in a time of Skype, Zoom, Facetime, and many other apps that allow us to connect across the net. When my husband was in the military, I remember times where Skype allowed us to see each other and “hang out” when the distance was far. This isn’t new or revolutionary; it’s called using our tools.
I am talking to several friends about Zoom art days. Pick a day and time, then we all open our laptops, or phones, or pads, logon, and do our thing, chatting with each other as we play. This sort of intentional community is something I do all the time in online education, why not take it to our friend space?
50 Ideas for Social Distancing that are Life Enhancing
- Get creative: do art, refinish furniture, start painting, write poetry, build a chicken coop, develop a new cat toy, and/or paint tree stumps. Spend time on Pinterest and see what supplies you have an abundance of and what you can do with them (example: create cork art from all those wine bottles). Do anything creative that you already enjoy doing.
- Learn something new: language, music, cooking, sewing, knitting, learn to draw/paint, learn to groom your dog, learn whatever that thing is you haven’t had time for, YouTube probably has a video tutorial on just that thing.
- Explore online professional development and learning. There are many options: Coursera, Khan Academy, Udemy, Lynda, or any online learning site (free or free access from your local library). Maybe pay a small amount and get a certificate at Udacity and learn a skill.
- Catch up on all those Podcast episodes you have on your list.
- Listen to new music, challenge yourself to find one new musician or group each day that you like/love.
- Learn the Git Up dance or any other dance that strikes your fancy.
- Make cards for all the holidays.
- Write letters to loved ones and tell them how much they mean to you.
- Read those books you have been waiting to read.
- Write that book you have been procrastinating writing.
- Develop an online business: sit with what you love to do that you could do from home, come up with a name, see what URLs are available, write a business plan, see the gaps in the market, determine your product, create a logo, and get busy.
- Turn a closet into a workspace or carve out an area for your business.
- Open an Etsy store to sell your fabulous creations.
- Make a vision board for yourself. Areas to include are your personal life, family life, career goals, and aspirations. Take the time to make this board something you want to hang up to remind and guide you.
- Begin a blog and start writing your articles.
- Take a good look at your To-Do list and re-organize it for success. Put the fun activities between the not so fun activities.
- Choose two things off your To-Do list, one fun and one you need to do. Now get them done. Scratch them off your list and go to the next two.
- Look at your paperwork, maybe you have a bunch of financial or other documents that you need to scan or file, perhaps it’s time to shred all the paperwork you don’t want to trash, but don’t need to keep.
- Plan and/or start your garden or your seedlings.
- Rearraign your furniture; this is an excellent time to change up your space.
- Marie Kondo the crap out of your life; let go of everything that doesn’t “spark joy.”
- Go through your garage or storage areas and see what old stuff you aren’t using that could be turned into something new, repurpose and upcycle what you already have.
- Do that house project: hang pictures, refinish your floors, paint your walls, whatever tickles your fancy.
- Connect with friends and have Zoom dinner parties.
- Have friend art time, or cook together, with your laptop, tablet, or phone as an interface.
The Next 25 Ideas to Enhance Your Life
26. Have a movie night with your friends and watch the same movie, at the same time, with the phone line open so that you can chat.
27. Play online games and connect with folks virtually.
28. Take time to play with your kids, build a blanket fort and make it more than a one-night event, do a puzzle, or teach your kids to cook or anything that might be fun.
29. Make up a game to play. Challenge yourself to draft rule, play, and adjust as you go.
30. Read books as a family.
31. Train your pet to do tricks.
32. Throw an elaborate or simple, indoor picnic.
33. Find some crafty activities to do with your kids, make coasters, or do science experiments.
34. Make a movie or direct a cooking show, on your smartphone, using your family as actors/participants. Or do it solo!
35. Catch up on all those movies you want to see, or re-watch all the ones you haven’t seen in a long while.
36. Discover your new favorite comedian.
37. Gather and share funny memes. Laughter is still the best medicine!
38. Figure out how to make your favorite junk food at home.
39. Do a spa day: give yourself a facial, mani/pedi, take a bubble bath, etc.
40. Make your beauty treatments from home, using things like salt, honey, sugar, olive oil, oats, Witch Hazel, Green tea. Many things you have on hand can make lovely natural beauty treatments. Do a Google search for recipes.
41. Practice your mindfulness tools: make sure to take multiple two minute breathing meditations throughout the day.
42. Learn yoga, tai chi, qigong, or discover the mindfulness of making bread, or knitting, or whatever you already enjoy doing.
43. Develop a personal mantra for self-calming.
44. Sit and observe your mind; watch it flit from thought to thought and practice bringing it back to balance.
45. Go for walks outside in open spaces to get fresh air. If that won’t work, go for a sightseeing drive. Get out of your house in safe ways!
46. Think of one or two new habits you have wanted to create and take the time to practice them.
47. Start a gratitude journal.
48. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep.
49. Craft a bedtime ritual that will help you go to bed easily.
50. Do Not Squander this Precious Gift of Time!
50 Ideas for Social Distancing that will improve your life.
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Focus Your Attention
In times of turmoil, it is easy to lose focus. We can find ourselves bouncing from news show to news website to google searching all the latest data on the crisis. Limit your amount of fear focus. Be smart, stay aware, and slow down how much news you gather and simmer in.
Decide what a healthy daily ration of crisis is right for you. You might need 30 minutes a day, or one to two hours. Decide what you need and then stick to that limit.
Then shift your attention to things you have been putting off or haven’t had time for. I personally finished my taxes this past weekend. What an absolute freaking relief! I felt very accomplished, and I scratched out one big thing on my to-do list.
Make sure to spend more time on what you have control over. In relationships, we talk about a 5 to 1 imbalanced to the positive, as a guide to keeping relationships healthy. That is a good ratio for life. For every 1 hour spent in worry, create 5 spent doing something energizing or fun.
You Got This
While this is a challenging time, it’s also a time of opportunity. You get to choose how you navigate it with a light or heavy heart. I have been reminded of the parable of the Farmer and his Son.
As the story goes, there are terrible events to which the son laments, “This is awful and terrible…” His father responds, “Who’s to know?” And positive events, to which the son espouses, “This is wonderful, it’s great!” And the father responds, “Who’s to know what’s good, who’s to know what’s bad?”
Life is rarely black and white, with every bad comes the good too. And, where you focus matters. There are opportunities throughout this experience. We can learn to manage our fears and practice self-care. You might start an online business or find new ways to work from home. Everyone from individuals to organizations are finding themselves in the middle of the change process. So, you are in the right place at the right time, if you are ready to explore new ways of being in your life and the world.
At the end of the day, take the time to explore how you want to move forward with in this changing world. Consider how you want to stay connected to your family and friends? And, make the time to tell people how much you care about them. Find the opportunities to explore. The point is, don’t get too wrapped up in all or nothing thinking. Look for places you have power and get busy focusing on improving your life.
I would LOVE to hear from YOU!
- What is one thing you are going to try to improve your life in this time of social distancing?
- What ideas do you have that aren’t listed above? Please share!
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article originally posted on Dec 2, 2019. Updated Feb 16, 2023.